SWAT responds to shooting that turns out to be hoax

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter
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STAFFORD, Texas - A SWAT team swarmed a local neighborhood, but the reason it was called out in the first place turned out to be a complete hoax.

When the Stafford police got a text message claiming there were four to five masked gunmen shooting people inside a home on Boardwalk near Havens Park, officers say they sent everything they had, even an armored car. Neighbors weren't sure what to make of it.

"It was about 13 cars out here -- police cars, Sugar Land, Stafford -- maybe more. It was horrible. I was like, what is really going on?" said Lawanda Banks.

Police from Stafford, Missouri City and Sugar Land were responding to an emergency text-to-voice message that it turns out was a hoax. They say they forced their way into the home believing a family was in trouble inside. Instead they found no one home. The homeowners were out of town.

"We take every precaution. We have to. We don't know it's a hoax," said Lt. James Leedom with the Stafford Police Department.

Using the IP address, police have traced the message to a computer in Utah. Police say they have heard of false reports by text message before, but never here. They say they had no choice but to take it seriously.

Stafford police say they asked the FBI for help tracking whoever sent the emergency text message.

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